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The Divorce Process Outlined by Attorney, Heidi Cisan

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Legally ending a marriage is often depicted in movies and television with dramatic court hearings and lawyers aggressively grilling each spouse. In reality, the process of ending a marriage typically involves very little time spent inside a courtroom.  Most of the time devoted by your attorney to your case involves obtaining, reviewing, and analyzing financial information for each spouse.  Additional information may be necessary if custody or parenting time of the children is at issue.  Sometimes information is exchanged voluntarily between the parties, and sometimes subpoenas and other processes are used if either spouse is unable or unwilling to provide the requested information.

Once the attorneys have sufficient information to understand the complete financial and parenting situation, one of the attorneys will typically formulate a settlement proposal for resolving as many of the issues as possible.  The other attorney will respond with a counterproposal, agreeing to those things that are acceptable, and proposing alternatives to those terms to which they do not agree.  These proposals may go back and forth numerous times, over a period of months or more.

If the parties can agree on all issues, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, child custody, and child support, the parties can put their agreement in writing and submit it to the court as part of a dissolution.  If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, one of the parties will have to file for a divorce, and the case will proceed through the court system.  Usually, the sides will continue to try to negotiate a settlement while the divorce is pending.  Eventually, whether by divorce or dissolution, the parties will have to appear in court.  For a dissolution, the final hearing is relatively simple.  The parties confirm their consent to the settlement agreement, and agree that they wish to have their marriage terminated.  The process usually takes less than half an hour in the courtroom.  A similar process will take place if the parties ultimately reach an agreement during their divorce proceedings.  However, if one or more issues remain unresolved at the time of final hearing, the parties will proceed with a trial, leaving the court to decide those issues upon which the spouses are unable to agree.

The experienced divorce attorneys at Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan in Cleveland, Ohio and Chardon, Ohio can provide you with guidance through the divorce or dissolution process.